Battle is on between S8 and G6 smartphonesKorea’s smartphone giants are duking it out in the market once again as Samsung Electronics begins to take preorders for its highly anticipated Galaxy S8 phones locally while LG Electronics starts offering its G6 in North America.
LG introduced the G6 in the local market on March 10, trying to get a leg up on Samsung’s S8.
Samsung said Thursday it will offer benefit packages worth about 400,000 won ($353.55) to early buyers of Galaxy S8s. The packages include a year of free registration for the Samsung Mobile Care program, which guarantees discounts on maintenance services and free battery exchanges. They also include vouchers for entertainment services such as YouTube’s paid-streaming service called Red.
Even before preorders began, Samsung has been operating about 3,000 experience zones, the largest number ever, to introduce the phones to the Korean public.
For the Galaxy S7 series, the company opened 2,100 experience zones prior to sales, according its public relations agency.
Preorders are available through April 17. Customers who preorder can get their phones April 18, three days before the S8’s official market release worldwide.
Samsung set the price for the basic S8 phone with 4 gigabytes (GB) of memory and 64GB storage capacity at 935,000 won.
The larger S8+ will sell for 990,000 won with the same specs, according to the company Thursday. A Galaxy S8+ phone boasting 6GB memory and 128 GB of storage capacity will be sold for 1.16 million won.
“Some expected Samsung would set the S8’s price at over 1 million won to maintain high operating margins,” said Do Hyun-woo, an analyst from Mirae Asset Daewoo. “However, the company seems to have taken the strategy of maximizing sales instead.”
The subsidies offered by mobile carriers have not been disclosed. KT, however, has announced it is offering four phone accessories to S8 buyers including a wireless charger, a USB-type high-speed charger, Xiaomi-brand portable battery and protective film for the phone’s screen. SK Telecom and LG U+ are expected to offer similar perks.
Industry insiders say the S8 may get 40,000 preorders, more than the discontinued Galaxy Note7 phablet.
LG is ahead of Samsung in offering its G6 in the U.S. and Canada. The G6 line is released there today while Samsung won’t begin official sales of the S8 globally until April 21.
The U.S. accounts for about half the revenue LG has earned on its G series of smartphones.
“I’m positive for the G6’s success in North America as LG chose to focus on its largest consumer market while
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pulling out of China,” said Kim Hyun-soo, an analyst from Taurus Investment & Securities. “The company has been keeping its third-place presence in the North American market for years and success in North America will be a crucial factor for determining the G6’s success.”
According to LG Thursday, it will sell G6 phones through 11 telecom companies in North America, including five major U.S. carriers: Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and US Cellular.
The company has set up 25,000 experience zones at outlets of mobile carriers and electronics retail stores in the U.S.
Following the launch in North America, LG will take the G6 to Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States nations, Africa and Latin America.
In the meantime, China’s Xiaomi hopes to eat into Samsung and LG’s Korean market share by launching premium smartphone Mi Mix. According to G-Mobi Korea, the official retailer for Xiaomi phones in Korea, Xiaomi began taking preorders for the 799,000 won device that comes with 256 GB storage and a fingerprint scanner in the local market Thursday. The devices will be shipped to customers starting April 28.
BY KIM JEE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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